Check Your Credit Report Online For Free
Making sure that your credit file is in good shape is essential to getting credit cards, loans, mortgages and more. In order to be sure your file is in good shape, you’ll need to check it, and check often. In this guide, we’ll explain the reasons you should be checking your report and how to get a standard statutory report for just £2, or even check your credit report for free.
What you should check on your credit report and why you should look.
The UK has three major credit reporting agencies. They are Callcredit, Equifax, and Experian. Each of them has a file on anyone with credit, and lenders use the information in these files to establish the creditworthiness of an individual. While they do their best to keep information up to date, they can and do make mistakes. These mistakes can reflect poorly on your credit report, in which case you might be denied for a loan. Below are some of the things you should check for:
1. Check to make sure your addresses are current, and that there are no addresses reported incorrectly. Inaccurate addresses can hurt your chances of getting new credit.
2. Dispute any debts or defaults on your file that are inaccurate, or listed as closed out unfavourably. Any bad debts will lower your credit score, and should be fixed as soon as possible.
3. If you’re separated or divorced, make sure you’re actually separated in the files of the credit reporting agencies too. Many times one spouse may have poor credit, which can reflect negatively on the person with good credit. Delinking is important, as it keeps your information and good credit intact.
4. Look for old and unused credit cards or store cards, as these can actually hurt your chances of being approved for new credit. All of that possible debt you could get may cause a lender to reject you, as your total ability to spend is also considered when applying for any new loans or credit.
5. Any time you are rejected for credit, make sure you check your credit files to see what the reason may have been. Many times you may find that an inaccuracy on your report caused the rejection, in which case you can reapply and get approved once it is corrected.
What credit agency files should you check?
If you know that a specific company you are applying for credit with only uses one reporting agency, then you should prioritise checking that file. However, many times bad information on one credit report can spill over onto another. It’s good housekeeping to make sure you check all of your reports at least yearly. If you want to make sure your reports stay in top shape, then you could even check them every six months.
When you check your credit report, there is no record kept of the check, meaning that only the credit reference agency and you know about it. This is why we recommend checking often, and making sure that you are checking every detail on your report. You should also always check before applying for any loans or other credit applications – especially for big purchases like mortgages. This will minimise any chances of your being rejected, and as a plus can also be done for free.
If you’re in a pinch though, or can only check one report, then you should make sure you check your Experian report, as they’re the biggest agency. Alternatively you can use CheckMyFile, which will check both Callcredit and Equifax. These are the most common reports, and as we said earlier, you should be checking at least yearly. While some people will only check every 18 months, that’s not always the best route. It’s worth repeating that you should always check before you apply for any big loan or purchase – even if you are already checking every 12 months or 6 months.
Your legal right to check your credit report for £2.
Everyone is entitled to check their report for £2, which is usually done by post, but most of these checks can be made online. It’s known as a statutory report, and includes quite a bit of information about you, including the following:
- Credit accounts you currently have.
- Credit accounts you have previously had.
- Electoral roll status if you are registered (you should be – especially if applying for a mortgage).
- Financial links to other people, such as a spouse.
- Missed payments or defaults you may have had.
- Recent credit searches that have been made on you (these are on your report for up to one year).
- Your personal details and addresses.
Instead of using the post though, you can use an instant report. They way it works is that the credit reporting agencies will verify your identity and give you the report straight away. The catch being that your identity needs to be verified. If they are able to do that, then you will receive your report instantly, or at most in four days. Either way it’s faster than the post. The three main agencies you can do this with are listed below:
You can also check your credit report for FREE.
Previously, the credit reference agencies made money by selling personal credit data to lenders. The purpose of this was to let a potential lender see the spending habits and behaviour of a loan applicant. This let the lender calculate whether the person they were considering lending money to was the sort of person who would repay it or not.
However, credit reporting agencies now offer credit monitoring services, which often run upwards od £180 and more a year for just one report. Remember that you want to check three reports, and then consider that consumers usually get tricked into signing up for a free month of reports, and then forget to cancel their account, getting billed for what seems like a small fee. That fee is wasted money though. As we discussed earlier, you can simply get your credit report for £2. If you do that two times a year, and from all three reporting agencies, you’ll just spend £12, instead of £180 for just one report. That’s a huge savings over the yearly membership costs.
You can get this service for free though. All you need to do is sign up for your ‘free’ trial month, get your credit reports, and then immediately cancel the service. If you’re perhaps thinking that you don’t need to check your reports, keep in mind that an old address that hasn’t been updated is all a mortgage lender needs to reject your application. By making sure your information is up to date, you’ll be ready for a loan, rather than getting rejected and needing to wait six months to a year for that rejection to drop off your report.
Here is a list of each reporting agency you should check.
We have gone over all of the reasons to check your report already, and below you’ll find links to each of the reporting agencies, but make sure to first read the specific details on each of the three major credit reference agencies. Specifically, Callcredit, CheckMyFile (an independent multi-agency report), Equifax, and Experian. Check all of them to be on the safe side, but if you can’t check them all, then start with the first one below, as they are listed in order of importance.
Experian’s Credit Expert:
This is the largest credit reporting agency in the UK, and the one most commonly used by lenders.
Details: Their Credit Expert service provides new customers a 30-day free trial, which then converts to a monthly charge of £14.99.
To Cancel: If you want to cancel, just call them on their Freephone, at 0800 561 0083.
Pros: Most lenders use this company, so your report will be very detailed.
Cons: If you forget to cancel your subscription, it’s expensive.
This is a third party service that has an arrangement with both Callcredit and Equifax. That arrangement lets you check both reports for one low fee.
Details: They will let you check the reports of both Callcredit and Equifax, billing you one fee of £7.99 per month to keep both reports checked regularly.
To Cancel: If you would like to cancel, you can just call 01872 308637 and let them know that you’d like to cancel, or use the messaging system built into your account. Just make sure to follow up and make sure your account actually gets cancelled.
Pros: You will be able to check both of the reports from Callcredit and Equifax for one low monthly fee.
Cons: You won’t get access to your Experian file, and you’ll have to pay £7.99 a month if you don’t remember to cancel your subscription.
Equifax’s Credit Report:
The second largest credit reporting agency in the UK, Equifax offers a good second choice in terms of being able to check your reports.
Details: You’ll also have a free 30-day trial of the service, but you need to cancel 24 hours in advance of the last day before you would be billed. The fee is £9.95 per month for this service.
To Cancel: If you would like to cancel, you’ll need to dial 0800 090 2219, answer a few security questions, and let them know you want to cancel.
Pros: You will have free access to your Equifax credit report for 30 days.
Cons: Forgetting to cancel your free trial will cost you £9.95 a month.
The smallest of the credit reporting agencies, and one that most lenders aren’t using, you should still make sure to check your details with them.
Details: Unlike the other services, Callcredit offers free credit reports for life through their Noddle service. That means there is no charge to use their basic service, although they do offer a premium service.
To Cancel: If you would like to cancel your service, you’ll need to email them through email@example.com, and let them know you want to cancel. They you will need to deregister from their Noddle site.
Pros: It’s free, which means you don’t need to spend anything to access your reports – ever.
Cons: First, you aren’t going to get as much information on your reports as you will from the larger credit reporting agencies. Second, they have a lot of adverts, which will prompt you to sign up for premium services like their credit scoring system check.